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Greetings!

Sales figures for most small fashion businesses experienced a continuous slide over the last few years. But something is happening now that points to a big improvement in business ahead–not in the distant future, but starting right now. Falling gas prices are putting a big chunk of money back in consumers’ pockets. Market Watch uses Goldman Sachs research to predict households will save $1,100 a year with gas prices at $2.80 in 2015. Prices are already hitting $2.00 per gallon in Louisiana, which means the savings to the average household will be far greater than $1,100.

In addition, lower fuel prices can also translate to reduced prices in utilities, manufactured goods, groceries, and any other consumer goods that move by truck. The flip side is some loss of jobs because of cutbacks in the oil industry. This is regrettable. But if oil is at $65 per barrel, most companies can continue to operate profitably and consumers can benefit from savings. Quartz.com reports that every time oil prices fell in modern times, it spurred the economy. A robust economy grows more jobs, more paychecks, and more consumer spending. .

So with a rosy outlook for the economy, what do we need to have in the showcases now? The answer is the subject of this newsletter.

You can view the entire January 2015 Newsletter Here

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

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Mardi Gras Balls and More

Need takes lots of avenues. All the commitments to balls, church events, charities and fundraisers, homecoming, school events are needs. And there are plenty more like prom, bridal, and seasonal changes like warm weather clothing.

A good example of need in our area is Mardi Gras Balls. Those chosen as kings, queens, and members of the court consider it a great honor. The privilege also creates needs. Royalty needs crowns, tiaras, scepters, gloves and favors.

Call-out gifts for formal dancing are another need for favors. Other Krewe members give favors to those sharing their table. There are plenty of other expenses, but the ones mentioned are items any local retailer in the fashion accessory industry can provide.

Find the needs in your area. Outfitting homecoming courts is one idea. They need crowns, scepters, jewelry, suits, and gloves. This year as a cost saving measure, many courts are using fascinators instead of dress hats. You have access to all of this through our website.

Church groups are another need. With Christmas coming, many choirs want matching scarves and sometimes ties for special music renditions. Be creative and find the needs that generate sales in your area or your niche market.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, October 31st, 2014

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Recent economic news relates weaker retail sales in the US. That is not a surprise to retailers on the front line. Nor is it reason for discouragement for small business that is never down for long. It has an amazing resilience that finds ways to survive and succeed. It comes down to making enough sales to cover the overhead and a little more to make a profit.

Small business has a nose for figuring out why consumers buy and what items they need. ClickZ lists 20 reasons consumers buy, but this month’s newsletter will narrow it to three.

When big business says sales are flat, small business looks for the items consumers absolutely need or can’t live without. Add to that the Christmas factor-consumers just can’t pass up Christmas no matter what the economists say. This newsletter explores these three categories that motivate buyers this time of year: 1) need, 2) Christmas spirit, 3) can’t live without it.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, October 31st, 2014

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Here comes the last month of summer and that’s good news for many retailers that do their best business starting with fall.  Actually, some fall items start selling now.  Fall dress hats just arrived and shops carrying millinery are putting in orders because their customers want fall hats early.

In addition, fall dress hats are important to homecoming.  If you sell to members of homecoming courts, stock some homecoming hats early so customers will see that you have them.

We can’t forget football season that gives a nice boost to many businesses.  Teams from high school on up have avid fans that want to show support.  This is good for many shops that can capitalize on local markets. Football fans following the local high school team are passionate.

Then there is the new items, sometimes in areas least expected. When we think of bridal, we think reserved, elegant, and traditional.  Well, bridal hair accessories have broken out of the quiet mode with so many alternatives to bridal veils that a new vocabulary is necessary to describe them-bridal side combs, forehead jewelry, neck and shoulder jewelry, hair vines, twist ins, side accented headbands to name a few.  Inspiration for bridal hair accessories is coming from cultures around the world as well as vintage inspiration from the Roaring Twenties and other eras.  It is catching on so quick that we need to be involved.  With so much overpriced hair accessories out there, all you need to do is be reasonably priced to get the business.

In the following posts we’ll look at items selling now so we can get excited and get our customers excited.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

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The battle for Christmas business is raging. Small business needs an edge and wholesale jewelry and accessories can be their weapon.  A recent invitation to a webinar from NetElixar put it well, “With 6 less days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the 2013 holiday season was expected to be brutally competitive and more difficult than any other.”  That is exactly why small business needs an edge—and they can find that edge in wholesale jewelry and accessories.

 

Too simple to be true?  Think about this.  Customers are shopping to fill needs.  Many gifts require a specific thing.  The jewelry of major retailers is generic.  Small business gets specific with items that cut straight to the need.  Three market areas are practically exclusive ground for small business:

  • Wholesale  Jewelry–Perceived value
  • Themes
  • Needs

 

WHOLESALE JEWELRY WITH PERCEIVED VALUE

Wholesale jewelry with perceived value—what are we talking about?  Let’s put ourselves in your customers’ shoes.  When they give gifts at home, they seldom worry about what a family member might be thinking about their gift. But when they give gifts in an exchange at work, the last thought they want going through the mind of the receiver is, “I saw it at Walmart”.  At the same time, your customer can’t spend a fortune on every gift.

 

Gemstone Jewelry has Perceived Value

 rose quartz necklace set

This is why small business is important.  They specialize.  One specialty of many small businesses is gemstone jewelry.  The customer sees intrinsic value in gemstone.  Yet it is often the same price or less expensive than fashion jewelry.

 

Take the rose quartz necklace set shown.  Rose quartz may be the most popular semi precious stone after turquoise.  This necklace set has attractive design.  It also has the cold feel characteristic of gemstone and unique interesting inclusions provided by nature.  The wholesale price is under $10, as inexpensive as fashion jewelry.  And no one can say they saw it at Walmart.  Actually they won’t find it anywhere except in a small business location.

wholesale jewelry--turquoise bracelet

Another example is the turquoise bracelet pictured.  Turquoise is definitely the most popular gemstone.  Even in year like this when turquoise is not in the fashion trends, it enjoys strong demand.  Granted, the turquoise in the showcases of retailers is reconstituted, it still has the beauty of gemstone quality turquoise that is $1,500 a pound for raw stone. Giving gemstone jewelry as gifts is perceived as giving something of value.

 

Gifts Items with Perceived Value

pewter sculptured writing pens

Like gemstone, pewter has perceived value.  One exceptional looking gift is pewter sculptured writing pens.  They come in a number of designs and themes with clean craftsmanship that uses deep sculpturing.  To add to the look of value, each one comes in a black velvet bow with white satin lining.   Unusual gift like this are only available from small retailers.

 

WHOLESALE JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES IN THEMES

wholesale jewelry and accessories in themes

Besides gifts fro family members, Christmas shoppers need a number of other small gifts for teachers, priests and ministers, co-workers, fellow members of clubs or organization, and more.   The most thoughtful gift the shopper can give is themes.

 

 

Here is a list of categories on our site that have theme jewelry and accessories:

  • Bookmarks
  • Theme Pendants
  • Theme Earrings
  • Ties
  • Polyester Scarves
  • Fleur-de-lis
  • Music Jewelry and Accessories
  • Sports Jewelry
  • Charm Bracelets
  • Brooches

 

Themes show the giver cared enough to go out and find something meaningful.  I have only seen selection of theme jewelry and accessories at small business locations.

 

WHOLESALE JEWELRY BASICS

fashion chokers

Wholesale jewelry basics are the items that provide needs.  A good example is fashion chains and chokers for pendants.  Far more locations sell pendants than sell a choker to put them on.  Without chains or chokers, a person can’t wear a pendant. Have you ever seen chokers for pendant in a major retail location?  I haven’t.  When customers need this basic, the source is small business.

 

You find a number of other basic needs like this only in small specialty shops.  Another example is converters that allow the option of wearing pins as pendants.  I doubt whether you ever saws this in Macy’s.

 

Competition is brutally competitive this Christmas, but small business has exclusives consumers need.  This gets these retailers through the Christmas season.  Then small fashion businesses come into their prime time—the months following Christmas.  These are the months they shine with Mardi Gras, prom. pageants, dance competition, Eater, and endless other events that call for jewelry and accessories.

Comments (0) Posted by Michael Gietl on Saturday, December 7th, 2013

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BRACE FOR RISING PRICES IN FASHION JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES

 

If you’re in the fashion jewelry and accessories industry, brace for price increases in 2011.  None of us like to hear about prices going up; nevertheless, next year we could experience a substantial rise. What is behind it?    

Over the last number of years, the industry has become more dependent on China as the supplier of fashion jewelry and accessories—dependent to the point that many domestic manufacturers of fashion jewelry have closed shop due to loss of business to overseas.  Price was the driving force that moved the manufacturing of fashion jewelry and accessories to China. 

While China’s industry grew, Rhode Islands’ jewelry industry dwindled.   Even brand name accessories were relying on China as their manufacturing base.  China enjoyed a brisk economy and this led to a rising cost of living (inflation through November is 5.1% for 2010).  Wages had to increase for workers to survive when everything was getting more expensive.  This was the first pressure on rising prices affecting wholesalers’ cost for fashion jewelry and accessories.   

Another factor was also causing pressure for increased wages.  Many of the workers were from the north and jewelry and accessory factories were mainly in the south.  Workers would travel south to get work and go home for Chinese New Years, then return south to resume their jobs.  With prosperity, factories began opening in the north and workers were not coming back.  Factories in the south had to raise wages to keep a work force. 

MATERIALS AND TRANSPORTATION GOING UP

Besides wages, raw materials are also increasing in price.  Metals are going up, cotton is having a sharp price increase, and oil went to $90 a barrel, which meant synthetics like nylon, polyester, and polypropylene would all see increases.  In addition, oil is mainly a transportation fuel so cost of moving raw materials and finished goods are seeing increases. 

CURRENCY EXCHANGE EFFECTS COST

In addition, the developed countries are pressuring China to increase the value of the yuan.  They feel the yuan is undervalued and that costs jobs in the developed countries.   A majority of economists believe that adjusting the yuan upward will most likely have a positive effect of jobs in the developed nations and this would be good, but most of these nations do not have manufacturing facilities for inexpensive jewelry and accessories.  So these goods would still be bought from China at a higher cost because of the exchange rate. 

HOW TO COPE WITH THE INCREASES

Manufacturers are already preparing wholesalers for the rising prices that will be coming.  Once you are aware of them, you can prepare your customers by urging them to buy items they know they will need now.  Think of this—when the public is aware of a hike in stamp prices, they respond by loading up on forever stamps.  The Dallas News reported that forever stamp sales went to 60 million per day before the 2008 increase in price.  That is up from 30 million—doubling stamp sales. 

By telling customers in advance, you can boost sales and they can save money.  You get the benefit of a sale without cutting prices and profits.  It is important for the customers to understand that these are industry wide price increases, not just price hikes from your suppliers. 

Another tactic is to discontinue items and replace them with similar merchandise.  This makes the increase less noticeable.  Decisions of keeping or discontinuing items because of price at Accessory Wholesale rest on the importance of a specific item to sales.  If the product is important, we raise the price and keep the item; if not, we discontinue the product. 

Also, you can stock now on items you know you will need and beat the price increases.  Then when prices go up, you can use the gasoline station tactic of raising prices immediately and generating some extra profit from inventory already on the shelves.  This can give a slight boost to your profit margin.

 

When will we see price increases?  It will be a year-long process that will begin right after the first of the year.  Some items will see increases early.  Expect hats, especially straw hats, to be impacted as soon as the spring line is available.  Some jewelry items like rhinestone and hematite may remain stable without much increase while other items may have moderate increases.  Overall, your customers may experience some sticker shock in 2011, but increases will be industry wide and consumers will soon absorb with everything returning to normal.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, January 28th, 2011

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THE FIRST HALF OF 2011 promises to be an exciting time as a bevy of trade shows, including Premiere Classe and Eclat de Mode-Bijorhca, open in and around Paris! A review of a few of the exhibitors at the famed international expositions throws a brilliant light on new trends and repeat traditions certain to surface for the New Year.

FEIDT, A RELATIVELY NEW jewelry house established by sisters Muriel and Nathalie Feidt less than four years ago will present some interesting themes to retailers at the show such as yin and yang symbols, life trees and butterflies.  A not-so-small amount of western religious symbols will also be on hand.  The company produces small-scale gold jewelry designed to be worn all the time and not squirreled away in a safety drawer. 

Most of the pieces feature diamonds and semi-precious stones set into metal bases of rose, white, and yellow gold.  Expected to make waves at the shows this year is a new collection of angel wings with rock and roll notes. Retail prices on the 2011 Feidt jewelry are expected to run from about $240 to $600.

ROSEANNA IS ALSO a relatively new, four-year old firm established by Anne-Fleur Broudehoux and Roxane Thiery.  The company produces a full clothing line including pieces for the beach.  The interesting thing about this firm is its emphasis on directional fabrics, giving jewelry and other accessory makers a good idea of the moods and styles coming their way this year.  For example, the company has a new collection inspired by South Dakota and the region’s vast natural landscapes.  There are also nomadic looks and patchwork outfits in distressed cotton or silk, many expressing a masculine mystique.

 

NOTHING EVER QUITE COMPETES WITH PARIS.  BUT YOU CAN ENJOY THE FLAVOR OF THE FRENCH CAPITAL WITH THESE EXCEPTIONAL ACCESSORIES:

 

 

 

NADIA DAFRI BEGAN PRODUCING textile jewelry “with a social twist” just last year and has moved rapidly up the success ladder.  Individuals enrolled in rehabilitation centers in suburban Paris produce the line. Most of the pieces are made from new textiles but there are a number of items also produced using old fabric stock in order to make each piece “look different.”

   Large jewelry pieces like breastplates (which are hot this year!) are based on the idea of creating sculptural pieces that express a design somewhere between jewelry and accessories. An important new collection features African cotton and Indonesian folkloric prints.  These are then embellished with passementerie and tassels embroidered with glass beads, quartz, amethyst or tourmaline.  A collection of precious metallic pieces can also be clipped into the firm’s fabric ropes.  Prices overall run from $65 to $500, retail.

ANTON HEUNIS IS A SOUTH AFRICAN-BORN resident of Madrid where he creates what he calls “new vintage” jewelry. This year, the designer is showing two collections.  One is a modern grouping of jewelry pieces made up of mixed metal pendants and charms.  The other is a more elaborate grouping inspired by Seventies-era Bulgari jewelry. Heunis uses Swarovski crystals and semiprecious stones in traditional gemstone colors:  soft ruby, along with opalescent greens and violets.   Heunis’ jewelry, which sells particularly well in the United States, will be on display at Paris’ Premiere Classe.

YARNZ offers New Yorkers and others around the globe a new way of looking at silk scarves.  As expressed by the firm’s designer Larry Wolfe, “We wanted to take the idea of the most popular trends and make them a little more literal.”  The result of this intent is impressive:  a collection that evokes a Seventies-feel, working with earthy neutrals with graffiti-inspired brights. 

Moving into the Fall of 2011, Yarnz will collaborate with W Hotels on a capsule Global Glam collection inspired by the cities of Austin, Texas and Taipei.  The collection will be one of several designer scarf collections on display for New York Fashion Week.

PERLE DE LUNE, a recent graduate of Gem-A in London, set out to create precious yet affordable jewelry. Her feminine and luminous pieces feature small diamonds in a range of natural and opaque colors from smoky to icy gray.  For fall, the designer is introducing a group of frosted pieces with miniature textured yellow and gray gold beads and rare shades of stone, all inspired by the artist Gustav Klimt.  Another collection, called Maharani, is homage to the city of Jaipur, India.  It includes finely engraved and perforated metals dangling on chain bracelets and necklaces.  Prices run from $265 to over $5,000, retail.

WE HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF JEWELRY PIECES WITH STRONG GLOBAL DESIGN REFERENCES. HERE ARE SOME ITEMS YOU MIGHT WANT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR OWN COLLECTION:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, January 17th, 2011

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CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE AND THINGS are looking up for retailers and computer geeks alike.  On-line Christmas sales are up 12%, according to CNBC, and department store sales are up 14% over 2009 for the month of December.  To make things even better, 21 percent of Christmas retail sales reported represented jewelry according to the U.S. Census.  Is that great?  Let’s hope the direction continues!

   KARL LAGERFELD DAZZLES PARIS WITH BYZANTINE FASHION STORY

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AND New Year’s is easy when you concentrate on Karl Lagerfeld this year. The super-designer presented a glorious collection of outfits for Chanel’s pre-fall Métiers d’Art Collection, sending stunning models down the runway in clothes exquisitely rich in ornamentation. 

This was a spectacular Byzantine design story, in golden colors and dazzling crystal, sequins and beading.  What could be better for holiday dressing?  Beat the calendar and try bringing elements of the Lagerfeld elaboration into your present day look!

Lagerfeld’s colors for this collection were mostly gentle, quiet, even muted, all very pink, peach, gold and pale grey offset by black and some tans and browns.  Embroideries were rich and luxurious; materials were lavish, soft, and often transparent.  One exquisite evening dress featured Lurex lace at its very best and most flamboyant, set off by piles of long Chanel-like necklaces and rows and rows of bracelets, both cuffs and bangles. 

LOOK HERE FOR LAGERFELD-LIKE NECKLACE CHOICES AND CREATE A TOUCH OF YOUR OWN BYZANTINE MAJESTY:

 

 

                                                Medieval Splendor

‘IT’S ALL ABOUT MOSAICS!”   the designer said of the outfits.  Mosaics, indeed.  These dresses could have materialized out of a Vatican Museum tapestry collection, what with their artful symbols and regal medieval conceits. 

One long coat in highly embroidered transparent material featured gold braid down the front, balanced by gold scroll work on a black net background.  Fabulous!  Shown with it were black and gold slacks and a black top with muted skinny belt.  This was surely reminiscent of yesteryear’s French monarchy!  Lagerfeld added little beyond Louboutin-like slipper heels and a little black clutch bag. 

However, with almost all of the outfits lighting up the runway, necklaces played a key role.  To call them heavy would be an understatement.  Beaded necklaces, one on top of the other, dropping from medium length to the waist characterized most of the dress and slacks outfits. 

Many of the multi-strand necklaces were golden, beaded, and ebullient. Others were sparkling with gemstones and crystals.  Still others were white, pearl laden, very Chanel-esque.  When we say many, however, we aren’t kidding!  One outfit must have sported 20 strands of beads, maybe more and that was in no way the exception! 

                                    Jewelry Fantastic

 

ALSO BIG WITH LAGERFELD were bracelets.  They were invariably worn in multiples, on both wrists, sometimes stretching up toward the elbow.  And then there were headbands! Gracing high-piled hairdos, the headbands were metallic, golden, light-reflecting, and royal. 

Seen alone, all of this jewelry might seem excessive.  But in a strange and almost contradictory way, the heavy jewelry balanced out the rich and elaborate materials and designs of this collection, making for a remarkably lush yet sometimes actually serene total impression.  On one hand, the collection is remarkably luxurious, at the same time it takes its source mainly from 5th and 6th century church art work.

Lagerfeld admitted that he originally thought about showing the collection in Istanbul, since it is there that Byzantine art originally flourished along the banks of the Bosphorus, but instead the designer settled on an elegant Parisian setting that he magically transformed into a Turkish tearoom.  It was all fittingly Lagerfeld-dramatic!

 

 

YOU CAN FIND LAVISH JEWELRY TO FIT THE BYZANTINE MODE THIS NEW YEAR’S.  JUST LOOK HERE FOR HIGH DESIGN AT EXCELLENT PRICES:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

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 “IT’S STILL GOING TO BE A DAY-BY-DAY challenge,” declared Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at Kurt Salmon Associates.  But so far, things are looking very good for Christmas retail sales. November turned out to be one of the best retail sales months in five years. 

And now Aronson says he expects department stores to ring up very good increases, with luxury chains posting the best gains.  Specialty retailers, he says, will be a mixed bag, and mass merchandisers will probably come in about even.

“The U.S. consumer has a lot of optimism,” declared Keith Jelinek, director in AlixPartners’ global retail practice.  Still nobody is about to replace their wardrobe, he contends.  Instead they are updating clothes with key items, like jewelry, and other fashion accessories. Jelinek says “18-to-25 years olds are the most willing to open their wallets.”

                                          Enticing Promos

An important boost to holiday sales came in the form of eye-catching promotions held on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to one major industry publication.  The promos enticed customers and drove sales up, giving retailers stronger-than-expected comparable store sales for the month.  It also hyped up retailers’ outlook for the holidays.

Cyber Monday, it turns out, was the biggest online spending day in history, with $1 billion dollars in sales, according to ComScore.

Sales at the retail level weren’t the only positives on the industry picture.  Fashion Industry stocks also rose, with retail stocks rising higher than anything seen since 2007.

RUNNING WITH OPTIMISM ISN’T THE WORST THING FOR RETAILERS.  THINK UP, AND STOCK UP ACCORDINGLY:  HERE ARE SOME GOOD BUYS FOR THE SEASON:

 

 

                                                       Hot Deals

Citi broadlines analyst Deb Weinswig pointed out that favorable weather and compelling deals drove better sales for November. But some analysts worry that the early spurt in business will be followed by a drop-off in sales with lots of buying at the last minute. 

Sherif Mityas, partner in A.T. Kearney’s retail consulting business, agreed that there will be a lull.  “Retailers are still going to need to drive some pretty strong deals to get consumers in the stores,” the executive said. 

Mityas said to expect strong online promotions and continued free shipping.  There will be more and more aggressive promotions as we get closer to Christmas,” Mityas said.  The partner is predicting a 2 to 3 percent rise in sales for the holiday.

                                               The Lull

Last week, as had been feared, sales were down somewhat from the end of November and more buyers were seen browsing rather than purchasing.  Still, retailers reported sales volumes up from a year ago, and sufficient to sustain their positive outlook for the rest of the year. “The cold weather helped a lot,” declared Lis Rodbell, Lord & Taylor executive vice president.  “Accessories, handbags and watches were standouts.”

“A phenomenal week!” is how Crawford Brock, owner of Stanely Korshak luxury store in Dallas described his business last week.  “And, if you look at the trend of the last 90 days,” he said, “I’d expect a 15 percent gain this month. Jewelry is doing great, and it was terrible a year ago.”

Fred Levine, owner of the M. Fredric retail chain, said, “I am seeing a turnaround.  There is no question.  I am seeing a spark of life in the consumer.  It’s been a couple of years of tough times and this is the first time I am seeing positive energy.”

STILL, IT IS NOT ALL ROSY.  CONSUMERS ARE VERY PRICE CONSCIOUS.  AND THE VALUE-TO-PRICE RATIO CONTINUES TO QUALIFY SALES.  HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS THAT RING UP GREAT NUMBERS WHERE THAT’S CONCERNED:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, December 16th, 2010

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NOBODY IS GOING TO ARGUE that the king of moderate to inexpensive watches is
Timex, the lion-hearted watch firm that has broken all sales and style records for several decades now and is still going strong.  Timex offers a huge line of watches consisting of many different collections, one for just about every taste you can image.

From the clean round-faced Easy Reader watches to the multi-functional Timex Ironman series, Timex has a watch for everybody.   The firm is important in traditional watches, but it is also a leader in innovation and technology.  And the rush to be first continues…

Right now, Timex is putting forth an exciting new Timex Originals Collection featuring embellished formal crystal timepieces such as the Dress Crystal and the Ladies Bracelet watch with Swarovski Crystals.  The crystal surround bezels are on round-faced watches and come in various styles, including the popular mixed metals.   

On the functional plane, Timex is an Olympian player.  The firm has watches that do almost everything but brush your teeth! Some big functions: GPS features and heart monitors.

But…you may feel a little too status conscious to wear a Timex, in which case, we recommend that you simply review the phenomenal functional benefits the watches offer. Or, even better, think again, because these are anything but cheap timepieces. Presidents have worn them, so have CEOs of major corporations.  President Clinton is one outstanding example of just how impressive the Timex consumer list can be!

CHOOSING PRODUCTS THAT HAVE NO OBVIOUS PRICE ATTACHMENT IS ONE WAY TO FIGHT THE FANTASY OF STATUS. HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:

 

            

                                                    Luxury Sector

OF COURSE, LUXURY WATCHES as a group still continue to lead the industry in trend setting. And while 2010 was a blazing year for the recession, luxury watches generally escaped the worst of the purge. Sales of Dior watches, which go for $1,000-500,000, picked up considerably in the first 9 months of 2010, and the company says it is now devoting even more space to watches in Dior boutiques internationally.

“Demand for watches across Asia, and particularly in China, is very strong,” Sidney Tolendano, Dior president said.

LVMH’s watch and jewelry group has been enjoying the same kind of enthusiastic consumer in recent months with sales up 29 percent against 2009.  The spurt has emboldened the firm to increase its marketing considerably in the USA, especially, with brands like Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith.

The high-end Swiss brand Omega is equally bullish on the upcoming year.  “We believe in the U.S.,” president Stephen Urquhard said.  “The time is right to get a foothold here.” 

    –And as European luxury brands expand their presence and power in the United States, look for them to have even greater design influence on all lower priced watches selling here.

                                                     Black Watches

GQ MAGAZINE, THE ARBITER of edgy styles, says black and other dark colored watches will reign supreme in 2011. That means black face, black case, black strap – yes, exactly what Batman would choose.    “It’s time to get in touch with your very dark side,” the magazine suggests. 

GQ also points out that from leather strapped styles to  military designs, the newest watches tend to be classy, traditional, and versatile, but in no way are they boring or “I’ve seen it before.”.

Many of the new watches are strongly jewelry inspired.  Embellished watches with a mix of precious and semi precious gemstones are hot, especially with couture brands.  And across the luxury sector, the trendy move is toward rose gold. It replaces yellow gold as the important look for the upcoming year, for those who can afford gold, that is. 

At the opposite end of the scale, chunky oversized watches with a distinctly masculine look are uptrending, especially with women who buy watches for themselves.  These watches often sport super tech features, such as solar power and multi-chrono functions. 

Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst for the research group, The NPD Group, says that one of the biggest challenges facing the watch industry is the problem of dealing with other time-telling products that are continually coming into the marketplace. The cell phone, he says really put a damper on the watch industry. In today’s world, if you want to grow a business, you have to have innovation and technology as part of the equation. “Basics maintain sales, but innovation drives growth.”

                                           Hot Competition

TIMEX PRESIDENT Adam Gurian takes a positive view on the new competition, saying it poses an opportunity. “Technology is coming to the wrist,” he says. “Gurian points to the firm’s phenomenally successful Ironman line, which includes GPS technology, as an example of how a company can overcome competition with innovation. And this is just the beginning, he contends.  “As the world of connectivity develops, we’ll be able to have your watch talk directly to your computer using Bluetooth technology.”

   –Wow!  This is Dick Tracy for real!

But technology innovation isn’t all consumers want. They are also looking for cutting edge style. Color is a big point here, especially when the watches can then shine as fashion accessories.    Gurian says that in all price points and categories, pieces that have been most successful are those that can be used to make an accessories statement. 

Next year, he says, expect more fashion, and a lot of color. The firm is already promoting colored bezels on its watches; look for orange or blue, the leading trendy colors now.

Fendi is another firm recognizing the power of fashion. The company recently introduced a remarkably creative timepiece called Crazy Carats Watch.  It has a rolling mechanism that allows the wearer to change the colors of the semiprecious stones on the watch’s face. Feeling like yellow? Roll it on!  Right now, the watches retail for a high $2,400 to $1,500, but just wait!  You’re sure to see variations on this color theme popping up in much less expensive watches soon!   

ANOTHER TRENDY MOVE IN THE WATCH INDUSTRY IS WEARING A TIMEPIECE WITH MATCHING JEWELRY.  HERE ARE SOME PIECES THAT DO THAT WELL:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010